Stone countertops are naturally beautiful, durable and easy to maintain. Several types of different countertop materials in stone or engineered elements are available:
· Overview - Granite is one of the most popular of different countertop materials.
· Appearance - There are many different types of minerals in granite, some of which appear like small, shiny flecks or longer veins of varying colors. Granite itself comes in many different natural colors and can be polished or finished in many different ways.
· Beneficial Features - The stone is naturally durable and water resistant with antibacterial and stain proof characteristics. Granite is also scratch and heat resistant.
· Granite Care- Use a granite sealant for an additional layer of protection. Clean with a clean, damp cloth and use a small amount of soapy water for heavy residue or debris. Avoid ammonia, bleach or any cleaning products with solvents or caustics, as this will remove the sealant.
· Overview - Marble is another popular choice of different countertop materials.
Commercially, any stone that can be polished is also known as marble, with the exception of granite. This includes serpentine, travertine, limestone and onyx.
Often called the “green” marble, serpentine marble is not actually marble but looks very similar and is more stain and spill proof than marble.
· Appearance - Marble comes in a wide variety of colors and with different vein colors and sizes.
· Beneficial Features - Natural marble is very hard, making it a versatile choice. However, protect marble from water, spills and stains.
· Marble Care- Clean up any water or spills on marble as quickly as possible and consider adding a sealant. Do not use marble in high traffic areas of the home where dirt, sand or other particles may grind into the marble, which can permanently damage or mark the stone.
Never leave a chemical, citric or acidic item or substance on the marble.
Clean marble with a clean, slightly damp cloth and then dry with a soft towel. Avoid bleach, acidic cleaners or any abrasive household cleaners with marble, as etching and dullness may occur.
· Overview - Quartzite, which is predominantly silica, is a hard non-foliated metamorphic rock which was originally sandstone. Sandstone is converted into quartzite through heating and pressure related to tectonic compression. It's siliceous nature makes it a perfect choice for kitchen countertops because chemically it has a very high resistance to anything acidic.
· Appearance - Pure quartzite is usually white to gray, though quartzite often occur in various shades of pink and red due to varying amounts of iron oxide (Fe2O3). Other colors, such as yellow and orange, are due to other mineral impurities.
· Beneficial Features - Quartzite is a decorative stone which is used as kitchen countertops, to cover walls, as roofing tiles, in flooring, and for stair steps. Quartzite is extremely popular due to it's marble like appearance and granite like properties which makes it an ideal choice to be used in kitchen. Hardness of quartzite makes it extremely resistant to water absorption, heat & scratches.
· Quartzite- Use a stone sealant for an additional layer of protection. There are instances when a particular block of a quartzite can have traces of calcium carbonate which can be a cause of localized etching if that particular section comes in contact with anything acidic. Quartzite even in this situation will give you more time to clean up before it starts to etch.
· Overview - Travertine is common for both exterior and interior purposes.
· Appearance - Most natural travertine is dark, ranging from ecru to dark red, with a variety of vein colors.
· Beneficial Features - Natural travertine is softer than marble or granite and should be sealed.
· Travertine Care - Wipe down travertine regularly with a clean, damp cloth and then dry with a towel. Avoid abrasive, bleach or caustic cleaners, as these can stain, etch or dull the appearance of the stone.
· Overview - Limestone is a versatile material with many uses.
· Appearance - Most limestone from the United States is light in color, ranging from yellow to pink to gray in color. Limestone imported from other countries is often light or even dark red, brown or black.
· Beneficial Features - Select limestone with mineral dolomite present, as this type of limestone can be polished and is harder than other types of limestone.
· Limestone Care - Wipe with a clean, damp cloth if dirty.
· Overview - Slate has a distinctive cleft pattern and is usually uniform in color.
· Appearance - Different shades of slate include green, black, dark red, gray or even mottled purple.
· Beneficial Features - Slate is very hard, durable and waterproof.
· Slate Care - Rinse with water and air dry for best results.
· Overview - Primarily characterized by a soapy sensation when touched, soapstone has high talc content.
· Appearance - The color of soapstone ranges greatly depending upon the type of soapstone used. Over time, natural soapstone develops a natural patina.
· Beneficial Features - The material is stain, chemical and water resistant but scratches easily.
· Soapstone Care - Clean with water.
· Overview - ColorQuartz is primarily comprised of crushed quartz, to which high-quality polyester pigments and resins are added, making it very strong. ColorQuartz comes with a ten-year warranty and sells exclusively in New England by Marble and Granite, Inc.
· Appearance - Over 40 colors are available.
· Beneficial Features - ColorQuartz is stain, heat, scratch and chemical-resistant. In addition, ColorQuartz is non-porous, does not require sealing, crack and chip proof and has been certified for use in hospitals and restaurants by the National Sanitation Foundation.
· ColorQuartz Care - ColorQuartz is maintenance free. Just wipe with a damp cloth.
· Overview - Neolith is a ceramic stone that comes in large slabs.
· Appearance - Neolith is ceramic and is available in a wide variety of colors.
· Beneficial Features - Neolith is stain, water and heatproof.
· Neolith Care - The material does not need to be sealed and is easy to clean with non-abrasive household cleaners.
Marble and Granite, Inc.
Marble and Granite, Inc. can help you understand different countertop materials. Contact us at 877-39-STONE for more information.